A Duck Tale: Spooner Amphibs Tread Water

“Amphibs to Swim” was the theme of the 2008 Military Vehicle Preservation Group’s Fall Party. The hosts used one of the many lakes surrounding the cranberry marshes near Spooner, Wisconsin, to test the seaworthiness of several WWII amphibian vehicles.
   
    In all, five vehicles descended from the cranberry dikes across the road from Army Cars USA, into the water. Military Vehicles Magazine was privileged to document this historic swim-fest and is happy to share these photos.

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First in the water was Kevin Kronlund’s DUKW piloted by Dave Welch. Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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The plans for the swim-fest was that the DUKW would respond to any emergencies. Dave piloted it with mother-hen attention as the other vehicles prepared to enter the water…some for the first time since 1945.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Kevin Kronlund was the next to enter the water driving his own Ford GPA.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Wally Piroyan of Excelsior, Minnesota, wanted to know if Bantam trailers really could float so he volunteered his own trailer as the test vehicle.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
 
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So far, so good. But then, the wheels were still turning. Not floating yet, Wally!
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Son of a gun…it looks like it is buoyant. But then, so is brick–for just a moment or two!
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Kevin had to check to make sure the Bantam wasn’t going to pull the back of the Seep into the deep!
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by David Doyle

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“Mother Hen” swam into position–just in case. Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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And finally, the Seep and trailer went sailing on their own and paddle back to shore.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Back on shore, all safe and dry. No leaks in Wally’s Bantam or Kevin’s GPA!
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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Next to “test his fins” was Mike Howard of Liberty Auto Restoration in his M29C.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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Mike’s Weasel looks like it sits low in the water, but that is exactly how it should look. Photo by David Doyle

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Photo by David Doyle

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Photo by David Doyle

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Mother Hen Welch floated around to be on hand for Mike’s first swim.Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Anxious to get in too, Rick Wark–an old experienced Weasel pilot–plowed right into the lake at the helm of Dave Welch’s M29C.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Rick piloted into position behind Mike’s Weasel.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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“That’s my Weasel!” had to be going through Dave’s mind as he kept vigilance from the DUKW.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by David Doyle

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The time had come for the “youngest” swimmer in the bunch to enter the water. Restoration of Chet’s Krause GPA could not be declared “finished” before the shop’s crew tested its seaworthiness. L’Cars restoration crew Matt Jasperson and Wayne Ayres (along with son Sam) cautiously crossed from land to water.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by David Doyle

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Too much fun going on in the water!  Kevin and Wally were not going to be the only land-lubbers! Back into the lake they went. Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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The wake from Chet’s GPA hadn’t even cleared. Kevin and Wally were closing fast.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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With all the “ducklings” in the water, they instinctively searched out and achieved a circling “pre-assault assembly” formation.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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The four “ducklings” found their place as Dave Welch in the DUKW monitored their swimming. Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Time to head to shore.  First out of the water, Mike Howard’s M29C.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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Before the next “duckling” left the lake, Kevin wanted to see if he could get his “baby duck” next to the “momma duck.”
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Photo by David Doyle

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With the Seep and the DUKW tied off, Rick Wark decided it was time to head to shore.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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With just three vehicles left in the water, Kevin and Wally in one of the GPA’s turned for shore.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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With Kevin’s GPA back on shore, it was time to steer Chet’s towards land.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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The wheels have touched bottom!
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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And out she comes.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf
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With everyone safely back on shore, “Mother Hen” Dave Welch pointed the DUKW towards land.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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THE CAST OF CHARACTERS

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“Mother Hen”:     David Welch with Kevin Kronlund’s DUKW (he’s got my vote for MVPA director!). Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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“Duckling No. 1”:    Richard “Rick” Wark with David Welch’s M29C

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“Ducklings No. 2-4”: Matt Jasperson, Wayne Ayers and Sam Ayers, L’Cars, with Chet Krause’s GPA. Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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“Duckling No. 5″”: Mike Howard of Liberty Auto Restorations (wearing the helmet) and his M29C. That’s John LeClerq in the back…he restored this particular M29. MVPG director Rick Colquitte is keeping watch.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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Ducklings No. 6-7″: Kevin Kronlund with his GPA and Wally Piroyan with his Bantam trailer.
Photo by J. Adams-Graf

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